I’ve always had an affinity for Cuban food. I guess that’s what happens when you live on the lower East side of New York. My love for Cuban food has only increased when I became friendly with Manny, the owner of the restaurant Mi Gente. I typically make this dish in the slow cooker but flank steak just calls for the pressure cooker. Instant Pot Ropa Vieja is on the menu.
It took me several years to figure out Manny’s recipe (he only gave me a couple of clues). Once I figured it out, I posted on social media with excitement, “Ropa Vieja.” My friend was like “old clothes.” She’s had ropa vieja before but in that moment she read it literally. The reason this dish is called ropa vieja or old clothes is because the shredded beef resembles a pile of rags.
Ropa Vieja is one of my favorite dishes. I think because it was kind of a tradition for my mom to take me out to eat for my birthday. We typically went to have hispanic food or sushi. My love for Cuban food has just continued to grow through out the years. While teaching in Newark, I fell in love with a little Cuban restaurant called “Mi Gente.” The food was so good some days lunch was sold out before 3 pm. One year I went their so often the owner, Manny let hubby and I get a peek in the kitchen.
Manny eventually convinced me to eat something else, then I had to add moro rice, Cuban black beans and rice to the list of Cuban foods I loved. Once I perfected the recipe, I knew I had to make Instant Pot Ropa Vieja. Ropa vieja is made with flank steak which is perfect for high heat cooking. That screams pressure cooker doesn’t it? So here we go.
Instant Pot Ropa Vieja
Makes 6 -8 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 pounds flank steak
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 15 ounce of diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon adobo
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives
Tools: pressure cooker, 2 forks
Season flank steak with salt and pepper
Turn Instant Pot to saute.
Add olive oil to pressure cooker and brown steak on both sides.
Transfer steak to plate and continue to brown other pieces of meat.
Return all meat to pressure cooker and add onions, garlic, red pepper and green pepper.
Cancel saute mode.
Add broth, diced tomatoes, paste, cumin, oregano adobo, cilantro and bay leaves.
Seal lid on pressure cooker and press manual (or stew) and set time for 40 minutes.
Once finished allow to natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes.
Open lid carefully use two forks to shred beef.
Discard bay leaves, then add vinegar and green olives.
Make sure to coat shredded beef in liquid.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice, maduros -sweet plantains and salad. Oohhh then flan for dessert. It’s officially a complete meal. Now you’ve got a little taste of Cuba in your home. YAY.